Princeton University Library Historic Maps Collection

New Jersey Counties: First Wall Maps and Atlases

Bergen County

County Data
Founded: 1683, one of the four original counties of East Jersey
Total Area: 247 square miles
Population: 21,618 (1860); 905,116 (2010), making it the state's most populous county
County Seat: Hackensack
Largest City: Hackensack

1861: County Wall Map

Griffith Morgan Hopkins, Jr. "Map of the Counties of Bergen and Passaic, New Jersey: From Actual Surveys" (Philadelphia: G. H. Corey, Publisher, 1861) [Library of Congress]. Wall map, with ornamental border and added color, 139 × 113 cm. Scale: 1 mile to 1.5 inches.
Griffith Morgan Hopkins, Jr. "Map of the Counties of Bergen and Passaic, New Jersey: From Actual Surveys" (Philadelphia: G. H. Corey, Publisher, 1861) [Library of Congress]. Wall map, with ornamental border and added color, 139 × 113 cm. Scale: 1 mile to 1.5 inches.

First wall map of Bergen County. A thick pink line marks its border with Passaic County. At this time, Bergen had nine townships, colored blue, yellow, green, or pink: Franklin, Hackensack, Harrington, Hohokus, Lodi, New Barbadoes, Saddle River, Union, and Washington. At top right and bottom left, there are detailed insets of the three major cities of Paterson and Passaic (Passaic County), and Hackensack (Bergen County). Smaller insets (with no scales given) of twelve other boroughs/villages circle the central map (_in clockwise order_): Little Falls (P), Godwinville (B), Carlstadt (B), Bloomingdale (P), Lodi (B), Pascack (B), Hohokus (B), Englewood (B), Charlotteburg (P), Fort Lee (B), Pascack (B), West Milford (P), and Pompton Furnace (P). (The plan of Pascack appears twice.) City business directories are provided for Paterson, Carlstadt, and Passaic. Rivers, roads, and railroad lines radiate across the rudimentary topography—relief is shown by hachures, wetlands by symbols of grass growing out of water. The map locates numerous Civil War–era landowners.

2013: Palisades. A note in the Harrington Township area of the map describes the palisade ridge along the Hudson River as having "an elevation of from 350 to 450 ft. at the River front affording very extensive views. The summit level is nearly half a mile wide, & is accessible for Carriages at nearly all points. The western Slope is a succession of Terraces. The soil is good, abundantly watered & generally well timbered." This first view looks up at the cliffs from the Palisades Interstate Park near the base of the George Washington Bridge; the other one looks north from the top of the Palisades at State Line Lookout near the New York State border.
2013: Palisades. A note in the Harrington Township area of the map describes the palisade ridge along the Hudson River as having "an elevation of from 350 to 450 ft. at the River front affording very extensive views. The summit level is nearly half a mile wide, & is accessible for Carriages at nearly all points. The western Slope is a succession of Terraces. The soil is good, abundantly watered & generally well timbered." This first view looks up at the cliffs from the Palisades Interstate Park near the base of the George Washington Bridge; the other one looks north from the top of the Palisades at State Line Lookout near the New York State border.
2013: Palisades. A note in the Harrington Township area of the map describes the palisade ridge along the Hudson River as having "an elevation of from 350 to 450 ft. at the River front affording very extensive views. The summit level is nearly half a mile wide, & is accessible for Carriages at nearly all points. The western Slope is a succession of Terraces. The soil is good, abundantly watered & generally well timbered." This first view looks up at the cliffs from the Palisades Interstate Park near the base of the George Washington Bridge; the other one looks north from the top of the Palisades at State Line Lookout near the New York State border.

Next to the H in "Hackensack" township, at the bottom right, lies English Neighborhood, today's Englewood. During the early colonial era, this was the first primarily English-speaking area on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. In 1817, the first baseline of the U.S. Coast Survey, charged by Congress to chart the entire American coast, was run through English Neighborhood. (For more on the Survey's role in the geodetic surveying of New Jersey, see the prior discussion of the 1888 state atlas.)

1834: English Neighborhood, pleasant village, of Hackensack t-ship., Bergen co., 5 miles S.E. from Hackensack-town, and 5½ from Hoboken, on the turnpike road to Hackensack; contains a post-office, a Dutch Reformed church, and a church of Chris-ti-ans, 3 taverns, 2 stores, and from 15 to 20 dwellings. This village is at a convenient distance from New York, by a good road, which, through a very pleasant country, affords a very agreeable drive on a summer's afternoon, to the business-worn citizens [Gordon, p. 138]. [indent]

"Tillietudlum," nearby on the Hudson River, was named for the estate of Francis Redding Tillou, who ran a ferry service to New York City from his landing (shown on the map). This area is part of today's Edgewater.

1876: County Atlas

Title page (with view of the Palisades) of the county's first atlas. A. H. Walker. Atlas of Bergen County, New Jersey. Made from Actual Surveys of Each Township and Village, and from Historical Facts, Arranged Specially for This Work, under the Supervision of A. H. Walker (Reading, Pa.: Reading Publishing House, 1876) [Historic Maps Collection]. 167 pp., including illustrations and maps.
Title page (with view of the Palisades) of the county's first atlas. A. H. Walker. Atlas of Bergen County, New Jersey. Made from Actual Surveys of Each Township and Village, and from Historical Facts, Arranged Specially for This Work, under the Supervision of A. H. Walker (Reading, Pa.: Reading Publishing House, 1876) [Historic Maps Collection]. 167 pp., including illustrations and maps.

First atlas of Bergen County. The volume contains maps of all the continents, the United States, and New Jersey; historical information about the county, townships, and villages, with a historical list of county officers; and a table of distances between county villages. The heart of the work is devoted to mapping and illustrating the county: thirteen township maps, fifty village maps, and numerous engravings of buildings, businesses, residences, and farms. These were the work of the American artist George Allen Rudd (1853–1888) who, living abroad in later years, was lost in the Alps.

"Outline Map of Bergen County New Jersey." Lithograph map, with added color, 40.9 × 66.3 cm. Scale: none given.
"Outline Map of Bergen County New Jersey." Lithograph map, with added color, 40.9 × 66.3 cm. Scale: none given.

Pale pink, yellow, green, and orange colors distinguish the growing number of townships, now totaling thirteen: Englewood, Franklin, Harrington, Hohokus, Lodi, Midland, New Barbadoes, Palisade, Ridgefield, Ridgewood, Saddle River, Union, and Washington. The Ramapo, Saddle Brook, Passaic, and Hackensack Rivers traverse the map; railroad lines are equally prominent. Hatching marks along the entire Hudson River boundary of the county identify the Palisades.

The "new" northern boundary line with New York State at the top of the map ("Line Run by Professor Cook in 1874") is the result of a survey done in July and August 1874 by Professor Edward A. Bowser for the New Jersey Geological Survey and reported by George H. Cook, the state's geologist, in a report to Joel Parker, the state's governor.1 Bowser found that the original line, as traced in 1774 with a surveyor's compass (see example in the "Perspective" section), was crooked due to magnetic variations of the needle. Cook recommended that the state collaborate with New York counterparts to straighten the line and mark it with permanent monuments. This was done in 1882.

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"Lodi Township" Lithograph map, with added color, 40.6 × 31.4 cm. Scale: 120 rods to 1 inch.
"Lodi Township" Lithograph map, with added color, 40.6 × 31.4 cm. Scale: 120 rods to 1 inch.

Pink, yellow, green, and orange colors differentiate the school districts.

The southeastern portion is comprised mostly of salt meadow. . . . There are large erratic boulders scattered promiscuously over the many hills. . . . Lodi is celebrated for its extensive brick-yards [p. 32].

1834: Lodi, t-ship, Bergen co. . . . Greatest length 10, greatest breadth E. and W. 5 miles; area 22,000 acres; surface level. More than half the t-ship consists of salt marsh and cedar swamps. On the N.E. there are about 4000 acres of arable land, and on the west a strip running the whole length of the t-ship, and varying from 1 to 2 miles in width. These are of red shale, with a margin of alluvial, on the Passaic, well cultivated, and productive. Along the latter river are strewed many handsome country seats, and about a mile S.E. of Bellville lies the well known Schuyler copper mine. Population of t-ship, in 1830, 1356. In 1832 it contained 527 taxables, 57 householders, whose ratables did not exceed $30; 21 single men, 1 store, 5 grist mills, 4 saw mills, 2 toll bridges, and 291 horses and mules, and 931 neat cattle [= domesticated], above the age of 3 years. And it paid state tax, $208.87; county, $427.69; poor, $400; road, $500. There are several creeks through the marsh, such as Berry's, Kirkland's, and Saw-mill creeks [Gordon, pp. 169–170].

Formed in 1826, Lodi Township dissolved over time into separate boroughs and parts of other townships. What remained in 1935 became South Hackensack Township.

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"Fort Lee and Taylorville." Lithograph map, with added color, 31.4 × 40.8 cm. Includes an inset map of "Edgecliffe" in the upper left. Scale: 500 feet to 1 inch.
"Fort Lee and Taylorville." Lithograph map, with added color, 31.4 × 40.8 cm. Includes an inset map of "Edgecliffe" in the upper left. Scale: 500 feet to 1 inch.

Fort Lee is colored yellow, Taylorville (upper right) light pink. Schoolhouses, churches, and a lone cemetery are green.

Among the villages Fort Lee is uniquely interesting, for its quaint and varied architecture, its mixed native and foreign population with their busy enterprise, its original literary and professional characters, its romantic and picturesque surroundings, its important situation on the Hudson, and its Revolutionary history [p. 36].

The steep cliffs of the Palisades are shown extending all along the Hudson River. From Fort Lee north, they are today part of the Palisades Interstate Park, which gained National Historic Landmark recognition in 1965.

2013: George Washington Bridge.The world's busiest motor vehicle bridge, the George Washington Bridge (opened in 1931), links Manhattan to New Jersey at Fort Lee—roughly where the main thoroughfare, the Hackensack and Fort Lee Turnpike, if extended, would hit the "P" in "Palisades" on the map. The first view is taken from Fort Lee Historic Park, looking across the Hudson River to Manhattan. The other is from Hazard's Dock Boat Ramp underneath the bridge, showing the bridge entering New Jersey.
2013: George Washington Bridge.The world's busiest motor vehicle bridge, the George Washington Bridge (opened in 1931), links Manhattan to New Jersey at Fort Lee—roughly where the main thoroughfare, the Hackensack and Fort Lee Turnpike, if extended, would hit the
2013: George Washington Bridge.The world's busiest motor vehicle bridge, the George Washington Bridge (opened in 1931), links Manhattan to New Jersey at Fort Lee—roughly where the main thoroughfare, the Hackensack and Fort Lee Turnpike, if extended, would hit the "P" in "Palisades" on the map. The first view is taken from Fort Lee Historic Park, looking across the Hudson River to Manhattan. The other is from Hazard's Dock Boat Ramp underneath the bridge, showing the bridge entering New Jersey.

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Left: "Bank of Bergen County at Hackensack" (1876). Right: 2013: Constructed in 1874, the building is considered today to be one of the best examples of Victorian Gothic architecture in the county. Currently, it is the Breslin Building, housing law offices.
Left: "Bank of Bergen County at Hackensack" (1876). Right: 2013: Constructed in 1874, the building is considered today to be one of the best examples of Victorian Gothic architecture in the county. Currently, it is the Breslin Building, housing law offices.
Left: "Bank of Bergen County at Hackensack" (1876). Right: 2013: Constructed in 1874, the building is considered today to be one of the best examples of Victorian Gothic architecture in the county. Currently, it is the Breslin Building, housing law offices.

1836: Regional Map

Thomas Gordon (1778-1848). "Map of the Bergen Meadows with the Adjoining Country" (New York: Graham & Price, 1836) [Historic Maps Collection]. Large lithographic map, 51.7 × 28.3 cm. One of two known institutional copies.
Thomas Gordon (1778-1848). "Map of the Bergen Meadows with the Adjoining Country" (New York: Graham & Price, 1836) [Historic Maps Collection]. Large lithographic map, 51.7 × 28.3 cm. One of two known institutional copies.

Gordon uses a dotted line and a brown tint to identify the meadowlands of Bergen and Hudson Counties.


1 George H. Cook, Report on a Survey of the Boundary Line between New Jersey and New York, Made in July and August, 1874 (New Brunswick, N.J.: Terhune & Van Anglen's Press, 1874).
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